Health and safety regulations vary from industry to industry. Workers on a construction site, for example, will have different protocols to follow compared to those who work in a kitchen or office. But one rule remains the same: all employers have a legal responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for everyone onsite.
The subject of health and safety is one that’s often met with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Some managers do the bare minimum and see the protocols as a tick box exercise, whereas some consult the expertise of health and safety consultants like Castle Consulting to keep their workplace as risk-free as possible. Regardless of their approach, they need to be aware that failing to follow the necessary health and safety regulations can have disastrous repercussions for the business and the welfare of the people who work there. Here’s what can happen if employers get it wrong:
If an incident occurs as a result of negligence and failure to comply with health and safety regulations, then the person responsible (along with the organisation) can be prosecuted as part of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. One of these penalties is the issuing of a fine. Although the financial penalty can vary depending on the severity of the safety breach, the amount can be unlimited (and lead to imprisonment) if gross negligent behaviour is a cause of death. There’s also the chance that the employee who was injured as a result of non-compliance could claim against the business, which could be a costly exercise as well as incur large legal fees.
If a company fails to comply with health and safety regulations and an incident in the workplace occurs as a result, it could lose its reputation along with its customers. After all, why would you want to spend your money with a company that is perceived as irresponsible and fails to follow legal requirements?
It’s also worth knowing that details of any safety convictions are now a standard part of tender questionnaires, so any breaches could hinder future business relationships and developments. Although the initial payment of a fine could be a hefty outlay, failing health and safety regulations is essentially a PR disaster that could leave the company’s reputation in ruins. You would need a very good PR or digital marketing agency to dig you out of that hole and rebuild your reputation.
Quality of staff
If you work for a company that puts the safety of its employees at risk, would you look for a job elsewhere? Chances are you would. Likewise, would you want to apply for a job with a business that had been prosecuted under health and safety legislation? Of course, you wouldn’t. By failing to comply with the legal protocols, you are limiting the quality of employees who want to work for you, which can have a knock-on effect on the performance of the business. Although it’s only natural to want to fill vacancies with people who have the desired skills and expertise, recruitment works both ways and the reputation of your company will influence the standard of candidates who apply for positions at your company.
Loss of turnover
Depending on the industry and severity of the health and safety breach, there’s a chance that business production will have to be put on hold while the error is investigated. A reduction in activity can lead to a loss of turnover and potential redundancies, along with the possibility the company could go out of business completely. Even if production resumes once the matter has been settled, clients may have used the period of downtime to look for alternative suppliers or contracts and moved their business elsewhere.
Ultimately, health and safety are something worth getting right, not only for the welfare of your employees but to protect the survival of the company.